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Five Overrated Heart Health Myths to Ignore!

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February is all about heart health and there’s plenty of advice out there from the mainstream medical community on how best to take care of your heart. Over the years you’ve heard a number of recommendations on how to avoid a heart attack. Here are five myths you’ve been hearing for years and why we think they’re wrong:

#1 – Statin drugs help lower your risk for heart attack

Remember our previous post on the side effects of statin drugs? Ashley’s infographic showed that 22% of people over age 45 are taking a statin drug. Annual sales of statin drugs could hit $12 billion by 2018.  Is it possible there’s a vested interest for the pharmaceutical industry to get every man woman and child on a statin drug?

According to this Digital Journal article, “Those who used statins had a higher prevalence of obstructive coronary artery disease and a higher number of coronary segments that had calcified plaques. The study was published in the journal Atherosclerosis.”

#2 Saturated fats are bad – a lowfat diet is best

Your body needs healthy fats! There are dangers in lowfat diets including risks of cancer, heart disease (yes, that’s correct), depression, and an imbalance of nutrients. You can read more on that here. Eating healthy fats from coconut oil, grass-fed beef, nuts, ghee, and organic butter may actually help you lose weight and protect your heart. Check out the book Eat Fat, Lose Fat if you need more proof.

#3 – Eat more grains

You’ve been hearing that for years, but most grains consumed are highly processed – even the so-called “whole grains” you buy in the plastic bags at the grocery store. If you’re going to eat grains, make sure they’re prepared in the traditional methods our ancestors used (sprouted, without yeast, etc.)  For help on this check out these instructional videos from the Healthy Home Economist. The important thing about eating grains is to be sure your gut is healthy first…many of ours aren’t! Most of us are gluten intolerant and have trouble digesting wheat.

Grains can be very inflammatory and unless you’re eating the kinds of grains mentioned above, they can also spike your insulin levels causing blood sugar and blood pressure problems.  In this article from Life Extension  Insulin Resistance – A Lethal Link Between Metabolic Disease and Heart Attack you’ll find out why. We all know inflammation is the precursor to so many chronic health conditions especially heart disease!

#4 – Eliminate salt from your diet

Don’t toss the salt shaker yet! Your body needs salt – it’s an essential nutrient. Yes, we get too much sodium from processed foods –  foods we shouldn’t be eating anyway! There’s a big difference between natural salt and the sodium you get in junk food. Besides, as you’ll see in this Dr. Mercola article, the anti-salt mantra was the result of one flawed study, the DASH-Sodium-Study.

#5 – Running marathons and cardio exercise are best for your heart

If you’ve been envying your friend who jogs every day and runs marathons, don’t. Your heart will thank you! Running marathons could cause permanent heart damage, say scientists. Too much aerobic exercise may cause everything from oxidative stress, elevated cortisol levels, adrenal burnout, lowered testosterone levels and excessive muscular fatigue. FYI, oxidative stress can lead to cancer and heart attack. Hmmm…

Exercise is critical to maintaining a healthy heart, but burst training is better for you, takes less time, and gets better results.

You’ve heard it said, “It’s easier to fool someone than to convince them they’ve been fooled.”  We couldn’t agree more. The next time you’re eating out and someone extols the virtues of the 5 myths, just say “pass the salt” and smile!

Check out the high-quality Heart-healthy supplements from Natural Healthy Concepts!

Fats and Cholesterol: Out with the Bad In with The Good

 Image Source: Flickr.com

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One Response to Five Overrated Heart Health Myths to Ignore!

  1. Laura Miller June 14, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    Good post Mary, although it’s important to point out that there is a huge difference between the duration of exercise sessions in elite marathon runners and those who are recreational runners. Runners who run 3-6 miles 2-4 days a week are much different than marathon runners who are averaging 30-40 miles a week and there are huge benefits (both physically and emotionally) for recreational running. Burst or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) are both a good addition to a workout program but should not be the only source of exercise. A well balanced exercise regimen should include both weight training and cardiovascular training (a combination of HIIT, longer aerobic workouts). It’s important to maintain a balance between the two as the benefits of exercising greatly outweigh any potential risks.

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